Return To Competition After Break
Decimated by injuries, the Northwest College wrestling team continued to gut out the 2018 portion of its season, competing last weekend at the Battle of the Rockies in Great Falls, Montana.
With just six wrestlers healthy enough to compete, the Trappers dropped three duals on Friday, falling to Eastern Oregon University (36-15), Embry-Riddle Arizona (49-6) and Northwest Kansas Technical College (37-16).
“I think the kids got better, but it was an absolute challenge for us,” said NWC head coach Jim Zeigler. “We lost three duals, and it was because we were forfeiting too many weights. You can’t go in and forfeit four weights and win a dual. But we won some individual matches, and saw some improvements, which was what we were looking to do. It’s hard to swallow those losses, but it’s inevitable when you don’t have a full lineup.”
Although only a half-dozen Trappers participated in Saturday’s open tournament, Zeigler said he was impressed with how they competed. Freshman Dawson Barfuss went 3-2 at 125 pounds, posting wins over McKendree’s Marcus Povlick, Providence’s Jordan Grimm and Montana State-Northern’s Kaleb Frank. Barfuss’ sixth-place finish was tops among Northwest wrestlers.
“Dawson Barfuss really woke up at 125 pounds,” Zeigler said. “He did a really good job for us.”
Heavyweight Daniel Jordan also had a solid tournament, finishing 1-2 with a pin over Dickinson State’s Zach Myers.
“Our heavyweight [Jordan] did a good job against some stiff competition,” Zeigler said.
Other Trapper wrestlers included William Fish (2-2), Sterling Kraye (0-2), Logan Gentzler (0-2) and Porter Fox (0-2).
“Coming out of the gate, the guys seem really timid,” Zeigler said. “At each of the events, the first match always seems to have some anxiety involved. As the meets progress, they tend to loosen up a bit. We’ve got to get rid of those first-match jitters and early anxieties, and just relax and compete.”
A dual with the University of Providence scheduled for Saturday has been canceled, so the Trappers won’t compete again until after the Christmas break. Zeigler said the long break will serve to get everyone healthy, as well as get the team focused on making a strong push heading into districts in February.
“With this weekend’s dual canceled, it gives us the opportunity to prepare for our final exams, which is the most important thing we got going right now,” Zeigler said. “Then we’ll regroup over the break and hopefully come back with a full lineup in January. We’ll have four guys back, so that will make a huge difference.”
Zeigler added that it will be important for his wrestlers to maintain their weight and conditioning over the break, as well as watch film.
“There’s so much wrestling available online of the top wrestlers in the country that they can watch,” he said. “I try to teach my guys to be a student of the game — studying, learning and understanding wrestling through that process. Sometimes you have to take a step back to do that well. So we’ll take a step back during this break, take a deep breath and remember the things that are important to us. But we’ll also take some time to learn, and come back fresh and start over for what is truly the most important part of the season.”